Reverse engineering deep patterns of personal dysfunction is sobering. At this point of my life I can categorize my life into three stages: my unconscious evolution, my humility through demolition and my conscious re-engineering. My humility through demolition was the most painful part of beginning to navigate what love means to me, because it became increasingly clear that I didn’t love myself. I loved many people with whom I shared my life, both past and present. I could ascertain what love “is” through these relationships, because I was able to give love freely. What I couldn’t define was my love for myself. I found myself becoming brutally capricious about people, places and things that didn’t return my love as vigorously.
The deeper dive into my own self-reflection revealed an ambiguous personal value system that was the core to my personal instability. Although there were compartments of my life that were extremely successful as defined by societal terms I struggled to harness any real fulfillment in my personal life. Because of my unwavering ability to compartmentalize my fear was never apparent. Because of my unwavering ability to compartmentalize my level of control due to my honest ability to focus was unquestionable. Yet of my unwavering ability to compartmentalize, albeit concealing my loneliness, it was destroying my heart. I suffered from deep personal pain although I was surrounded by a horde of people that I loved so much. Why then?
When my son was ten I sought his approval to leave my first husband. He shockingly expressed that we could make it alone, but due to my fear and lack of self-love I sought love outside of myself. Once again, I was desperately searching for an answer I didn’t know I had within me. One day when my son was sixteen while sitting in our kitchen nook he unsolicitedly affirmed, my reason for being the way I was. He told me “mother women have to be like you these days, because men aren’t men anymore.” This began the stage of my humility through demolition. I only partially believed what he said that day at the time and I believe it even less now that I have begun my conscious re-engineering stage. Instead I have developed some complex personal ideas about why I became the way I was totally apart from the men I chose to share my life with. The answers weren’t defined by them, they are mine-and-mine alone.
During my humility through demolition stage I observed pro-feminist women, privately steeped in patriarchy, making conscious decisions to stand beside men that disgraced them publicly amongst friends. I connected with women from different cultures who shared their experiences of survival by means of manipulation to find freedom. To date I have worked closely with over three hundred women to help develop a sense of physical strength & wellness through preventive health care measures. I never struggled with any of these issues directly in my unconscious evolution stage. So why then?
This is a story about a little girl who watched her mother suddenly die when she was seven years old. My father that was a USMA West Point Graduate who was a strict disciplinarian who couldn’t express his love. My father was a beautiful man with a brilliant mind and a depressed heart. When my mother passed away my father never recovered and it was never about the motherless child, but instead the wifeless husband. Although my father provided a financially stable and nourishing scholastic environment he suffered at being consciously present. He deliberately dissociated love and intimacy. During my humility through demolition stage I realized this was my why.
The dissociation of intimacy and love is a travesty. Yet it macerates our society through the ever-growing need for ephemeral connection and superficial relationships. Love and intimacy require truth; the truth about ourselves and one another. To go from shallow to intimate relationships one must become familiar with truth where we deal with issues we don’t often care to deal with. Repressing truth about ourselves makes us laden with resentment and ultimately creates great personal pain. Our willingness to face rejection in the pursuit of our own truth is in of its self an act of unselfish love.
My father indeed raised me to be the strongest woman I could possibly be. For this I will forever be grateful. My abilities, skills and capacity were developed directly under his influence. However, the contradiction of his values that he expressed after my mother passed away was by choosing to court women that were exactly the opposite of my mother: much younger, uneducated and codependent. During my unconscious evolution stage, I unknowingly developed a pattern of seeking out a specific kind of man: southern, impressionable and who had parents that remained married to their first spouse. Nonsensical and not deliberate, but a true pattern none the less.
The devastating disharmony with these men was their likewise dissociation with love and intimacy even though they came from a different establishment. Although their parents were still married they were no longer in love, never shared real intimacy and due to this only remained together due to financial constraints, children or shame. Because these men were raised in this environment they thought nothing of their dissociation with love and intimacy. They too were broken and could not help me find what I needed or wanted. They were great men, but neither could fully engage in real sensual connection beyond the honeymoon phase when lust is often mistaken for intimacy. My deeper desire to establish real intimacy in pursuit of a resolute married life was admonished due to their own renunciation of personal truth (whatever it was for them) and I was often left feeling indecent.
Now as I am working through my conscious re-engineering stage I have established real personal values that define my true character and have greatly impacted every aspect of my life. These ideals guide my behavior and I am now positive when I say no to things that are vehemently opposed to my established personal values. Love and intimacy in all my personal relationships are the core principals in my value system. I know for myself personally that being of loving impact on other’s lives is my truth. I’ve reorganized my entire professional life to follow this structure and I have chosen the same for my personal life. This isn’t an easy process, I face rejection every day and there are many unknowns when navigating love. I do know that relationships don’t always fail because men aren’t men anymore, because women are always victims of sexism and gender inequality or anywhere in between in same gender relationships. There is a larger disconnect and it’s often rooted in our inability to define our own truth first.